Palestinian Killed In Israeli Strike – Ministry

File photo: A man holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Gaza City. THOMAS COEX / AFP

 

A Palestinian was killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the enclave’s health ministry said, after Israel said one of its aircraft targeted a group launching balloons carrying firebombs.

Three other people were wounded east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said. A family member said the person killed was working as a border policeman in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

Following the incident, Israel’s army said Palestinians launched mortar shells at soldiers near the border fence, causing no injuries.

Israel has pledged a tougher response to Palestinians who have for months sent balloons and kites carrying firebombs over the border fence to burn Israeli farmland.

Israel’s fire service says hundreds of fires have caused damage amounting to millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros).

The military has opened fire at or near those launching the devices in recent days, but Thursday would mark the first time someone was killed in such strikes.

“Earlier today, a Hamas terrorist squad was launching arson balloons from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” a military statement said.

“In response, an IDF aircraft fired towards the squad.”

Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.

Israel hit dozens of sites it said belonged to militants in the Gaza Strip in Saturday’s strikes, killing two Palestinian teenagers.

The same day, around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza and four Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the nearby Israeli city of Sderot.

Israeli Air Strike Kills Palestinian In Gaza

Credit: Rami al SAYED / AFP

 

A Palestinian was killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the enclave’s health ministry said after Israel said one of its aircraft targeted a group launching balloons carrying firebombs.

Three other people were wounded east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said. A family member said the person killed was working as a border policeman in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

 

Following the incident, Israel’s army said Palestinians launched mortar shells at soldiers near the border fence, causing no injuries.

Israel has pledged a tougher response to Palestinians who have for months sent balloons and kites carrying firebombs over the border fence to burn Israeli farmland.

Israel’s fire service says hundreds of fires have caused damage amounting to millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros).

The military has opened fire at or near those launching the devices in recent days, but Thursday would mark the first time someone was killed in such strikes.

“Earlier today, a Hamas terrorist squad was launching arson balloons from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” a military statement said.

“In response, an IDF aircraft fired towards the squad.”

Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.

Israel hit dozens of sites it said belonged to militants in the Gaza Strip in Saturday’s strikes, killing two Palestinian teenagers.

The same day, around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza and four Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the nearby Israeli city of Sderot.

 

AFP

Palestinian Dies After Being Shot In Gaza Clashes

Palestinian demonstrators burn tyres near the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, as Palestinians readied for protests over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem on May 14, 0218. PHOTO: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

A Palestinian has died days after being shot by Israeli forces in clashes along the Gaza border, the enclave’s health ministry said Tuesday.

Sari al-Shobaki had been transferred to Jerusalem for treatment after being shot several days ago east of Gaza City, the ministry in the Hamas-run territory said.

A ministry spokesman said the 23-year-old died at the St Joseph Hospital in Jerusalem.

There was no immediate confirmation from the hospital.

At least 144 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30.

No Israelis have been killed.

Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations.

Critics accuse it of disproportionate force against protesters.

AFP

Israel To Withhold Families’ Payments From Palestinian Markets

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he welcomes the President of Panama prior to their meeting at his Jerusalem office on May 17, 2018. GALI TIBBON / POOL / AFP

 

Israel’s parliament has passed a law to freeze money transferred to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis.

The legislation was approved late Monday and gives the Israeli government powers to withhold an amount of money based on what is paid to the prisoners and their families.

Israel collects around $127 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports and then transfers it to the Palestinian Authority.

A sponsor of the legislation says the PA pays around $330 million a year to prisoners and their families, amounting to seven percent of its budget.

Israel has withheld payments in the past, notably in response to the Palestinians’ 2011 admission to the UN cultural agency UNESCO as a full member.

When Israeli ministers first backed the new legislation in February, the Palestinian government called it “piracy and theft” as well as a breach of international law.

Israel says the payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for security offences or killed by Israeli forces while carrying out attacks encourages further violence.

Many Palestinians view the prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes or “martyrs” in the struggle against Israeli occupation.

The payments can be a key source of income for families, who have in many cases lost their main breadwinner.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman hailed the passing of the new law saying: “Every shekel (president) Mahmud Abbas will pay for terrorists and assassins will be automatically withdrawn from the Palestinian Authority’s budget.

“An effective war on terrorism also passes through the pocket — of the terrorists, of their families and of Mahmud Abbas.”

AFP

Palestinian Shot While Attempting To Breach Gaza Border

Israeli troops take a position as they clash with Palestinian youth in the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank after they stormed the camp on May 28, 2018.
ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

 

A Palestinian armed with an axe was shot dead trying to breach the Gaza-Israel border on Monday, the Israeli army said.

An army statement said troops thwarted an “infiltration attempt” by “two terrorists who damaged the security fence and were armed with an axe.”

Soldiers “fired towards the terrorists, killing one of them,” it added, without clarifying what happened to the second suspect.

There was no immediate confirmation from the health ministry in Gaza.

The death brings to 125 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30.

The vast majority have been killed during weeks of protests along the border.

Protests peaked on May 14 when at least 61 people were killed as tens of thousands approached the heavily fortified border in a demonstration coinciding with the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

On Friday a 21-year-old female medic was shot dead in southern Gaza.

No Israelis have been killed.

The Jewish state accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as an excuse to carry out attacks.

AFP

Israeli Army Shoots Palestinian For Attempted Murder

Israeli troops                                                                                                                ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

 

A Palestinian man who tried on Saturday to hit Israeli soldiers with his car in the southern occupied West Bank city Hebron was shot dead, the army said.  

“A terrorist attempted to run over IDF troops located at the site with his vehicle. In response, the troops fired towards the terrorist, killing him. No IDF troops were injured,” an army statement said.

A military spokesman told AFP the alleged attacker was a Palestinian.

On Friday a 21-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence, where clashes were taking place.

Razan al-Najjar was a volunteer with the Gaza health ministry, wearing the white uniform of a medic when she was shot in the chest.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, another 40 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in Friday’s clashes.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that cases such as Najjar’s, “in which civilians are allegedly killed by IDF fire, are thoroughly examined by the relevant levels of command and are checked by the General Staff Fact Finding Assessment Mechanism”.

AFP

Palestinian President Abbas Improving In Hospital – Officials

Palestinian President Abbas Improving In Hospital - Officials
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas . Photo: Francois Mori / POOL / AFP

 

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s condition was improving and he could leave hospital as early as Tuesday, a senior official and a medical source said Monday.

Abbas, 83, was admitted to the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Sunday with complications following an ear operation.

He was awake and his condition was improving on Monday, a senior official said on condition of anonymity. A medical source confirmed Abbas was getting better.

The Palestinian president is expected to leave the hospital Tuesday and could return straight to work, the official added.

Abbas’s health is the subject of regular speculation, with no clear successor identified.

Senior official Saeb Erekat downplayed fears about his condition late Sunday.

“The president is suffering from an inflammation of the ear that developed following the operation he undertook recently,” Erekat told AFP.

A source familiar with his condition had earlier said he was suffering from chest pain and a high fever.

It is the third time Abbas has been in hospital in a week, initially for the ear operation on Tuesday then for tests on Saturday.

In February, he underwent what was then described as routine medical tests in the United States.

Abbas won a four-year term as president in 2005, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

Abbas argues the split between his Fatah party and Islamists Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip, has made elections politically impossible.

A moderate, he has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down.

AFP

Iran Decries ‘Day Of Great Shame’ Over Palestinian Deaths

 

Iran Decries 'Day Of Great Shame' Over Palestinian Deaths
A Palestinian boy holding his national flag looks at clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. 
MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

Iran decried “a day of great shame” over the deaths of dozens of Palestinians protesting Monday’s controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Israeli regime massacres countless Palestinians in cold blood as they protest in the world’s largest open-air prison,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Meanwhile, (US President Donald) Trump celebrates move of US illegal embassy and Arab collaborators move to divert attention. A day of great shame,” he added.

Israeli forces killed 52 Palestinians and injured more than 2,400 during protests against the opening of the US embassy in the divided holy city, in the bloodiest day of the conflict since the 2014 Gaza war.

Earlier, Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, said the US had “entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the international arena immaturely and adventurously”.

“I believe the current US president is not capable of identifying and judging the long-term consequences of his actions,” Larijani told a televised conference on Palestine in Tehran.

“Spur-of-the-moment and uncalculated actions cannot continue in today’s world. Feeblemindness is costly for statesmen and they will eventually have to pay the price,” he added.

Iran Decries 'Day Of Great Shame' Over Palestinian Deaths
Palestinians take cover from shots during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

Iran is a key backer of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, and opposition to Israel has been a central tenet of its regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Larijani called for an “immediate reaction” from Palestinians, Islamic countries and the international community — including boycotts and official complaints to the United Nations.

The US “must not think that such actions… can remain without a response,” he said.

AFP

Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian On Gaza Border

FILE PHOTO Israeli security forces stand guard in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 18, 2018. PHOTO: Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP

 

Israeli soldiers shot two Palestinians on Sunday as they tried to infiltrate the country from the Gaza Strip, killing one of them and arresting the other, the army said.

“2 suspects attempted to infiltrate Israel from the southern Gaza Strip and damage the (border) security fence,” the army tweeted.

“In response, IDF (army) troops fired towards them. One of the suspects was killed, and the other was injured and transferred to security forces for further questioning.”

AFP

Palestinian Vies For Imaginary Seat In Lebanon Parliament

Palestinian Vies For Imaginary Seat In Lebanon Parliament
Palestinian parliamentary candidate Manal Kortam, who has nominated herself for a seat that does not exist in next month’s elections to raise awareness about the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, walks in the Mar Elias Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut on April 26, 2018. JOSEPH EID / AFP

 

She has been crisscrossing her native Lebanon ahead of May 6 elections but the parliament seat she wants does not exist and she is not even eligible. Manal Kortam is a Palestinian refugee.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have lived in refugee camps across the small Middle Eastern country for decades, facing tough living conditions and barred from certain jobs.

But in a country of just four million where each religious community is allocated seats in the legislative chamber, there are none for Palestinians.

In the run-up to Lebanon’s first parliamentary polls in almost a decade, Kortam saw an opportunity to stand up for her Palestinian community by launching a symbolic campaign.

“Somebody needed to say: ‘There are people who have been in this country for 70 years but who have no place at all in public politics’,” she told AFP during a visit this week to the Mar Elias camp in Beirut.

“All candidates have programmes that speak of social justice and democracy,” she said, dressed in a slick pair of chequered trousers and black jacket, a piercing in her eyebrow.

“Implementing social justice is very important — but not just for nationals, for all Lebanon residents,” the 40-year-old from the northern city of Tripoli said.

– ‘We exist’ –

Palestinians began taking refuge in Lebanon with the creation of Israel in 1948, setting up camps that have since transformed into bustling, urban districts.

Around 174,000 Palestinian refugees live in 12 camps across the country, a one-off government census said last year.

That figure was much lower than previous estimates of up to 500,000, in a country where demographics have long been a sensitive subject.

The presence of Palestinians has been controversial, with many blaming them for the eruption of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.

“We exist,” Kortam has often repeated as a hashtag on social media and slogan on her tours of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps.

On Facebook, she poses in a series of posters that subvert the slogans of well-known political parties to draw attention to the Palestinian cause.

“The pulse of the isolated people,” goes one, adding an adjective to a slogan of the Kataeb (Phalange) party.

Palestinians in Lebanon face a raft of restrictions from the state.

They are banned from practising a number of professions — including those of doctor, lawyer and engineer — and cannot buy a home outside the camps.

– ‘Social, economic rights’ –

Kortam was born in Lebanon to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother.

But she does not have citizenship — a result of a century-old law that bars women from passing on nationality, meaning that the children of Palestinian men and their Lebanese wives do not have the rights of a citizen.

The law was maintained over fears of upsetting the country’s delicate sectarian balance.

“I’m demanding civil, social, economic rights for Palestinian refugees,” Kortam said.

These include “the right to all jobs, the right to social security… and the right to own property”, she said.

The Palestinian camps in Lebanon are built-up and fully integrated in the urban fabric but the army is banned from going in and crime has festered.

“Palestinian camps should not be isolated” from their surrounding communities but included in Lebanon’s development as a whole, Kortam said.

Only “this way can we build a Palestinian… society able to liberate its land and return to it”, Kortam said.

Some 597 candidates are running for a seat in Lebanon’s parliament, but only a few dozen have pledged to uphold human rights including refugee rights, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Just 27 candidates and some parties running in the polls have made public commitments to strengthen human rights protections, the New York-based watchdog said.

“It is deeply disappointing that none of the parties in Lebanon’s current government saw fit to make strong commitments to human rights,” HRW’s Lama Fakih said.

Kortam said she knows her task is not easy, but she had received great feedback so far.

“Whether they support or oppose the campaign, just the fact that people interact with it is great,” she said.

“It’s an awareness-raising campaign and it’s normal that it raises a lot of questions.”

AFP

Malaysia Discovers Motorbike Allegedly Used In Killing Palestinian

Malaysian forensic police collect evidence in the area where a Palestinian scientist was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur on April 21, 2018. Photo Credit: AFP

 

Malaysian police have found the motorbike allegedly used in the drive-by shooting of a Palestinian scientist in Kuala Lumpur, the national police chief said Tuesday.

Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed in a hail of bullets by two attackers Saturday as he walked to a mosque for dawn prayers.

The family of Batsh, a member of Islamist militant group Hamas who was said to be a rocket-making expert, has accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of carrying out the killing. Israel has denied the claims.

Kuala Lumpur police have launched a manhunt for the pair and have released photofits of the two suspects, who are light-skinned, bearded men.

National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said that the motorbike allegedly used by the assailants had been found in the Setapak area of Kuala Lumpur.

“The motorcycle is in good condition,” he told reporters, without giving further details

Police previously said they believed either a BMW or a Kawasaki was used in the attack.

Mossad is believed to have assassinated Palestinian militants and scientists in the past, but rarely confirms such operations.

Batsh’s expertise in making weapons could have made him a target — militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza regularly fire rockets at southern Israel, usually without causing casualties.

But Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman Sunday denied claims of the Jewish state’s involvement, suggesting instead that it was a “settling of accounts” between factions of a terror group.

It was the second high-profile killing of a foreigner in Malaysia in just over a year.

In February 2017 assassins smeared the banned VX nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, killing him within minutes.

AFP

Malaysia Carries Out Autopsy On Palestinian Gunned Down In ‘Mossad’ Hit

A picture taken on April 21, 2018 shows men holding up a poster portrait of 35-year-old Palestinian professor and Hamas member Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh who was killed early in the day in Malaysia outside his family’s house in Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip/ AFP

 

An autopsy was being carried out Sunday on the body of a Palestinian professor who was gunned down in what his family claim was an assassination by Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Saturday, according to Malaysian authorities.

He was walking from his highrise apartment to dawn prayers at a local mosque in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Gombak when he was shot by two gunmen riding a motorcycle, officials added.

At the crime scene, police markers indicated 14 bullets had been sprayed at the victim, some of them hitting a wall. An iron grille hit by a bullet was dented.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted by the state-run Bernama news agency as saying Batsh was “an electrical engineer and an expert at making rockets”.

In a statement from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the victim’s family said: “We accuse the Mossad of being behind the assassination.”

Hamas said Batsh, described as a research scientist specialising in energy issues, was one of its members.

Malaysia’s police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said a task force has been formed to investigate the killing but would not speculate on the motive or whether foreign assassins were involved.

Photos of the two suspects provided by witnesses showed they looked like Europeans but police could not confirm they were in fact from Europe, he told a news conference Sunday afternoon.

When asked if there was evidence of foreign involvement in the killing, he said: “It is still premature to conclude.

“We want to ensure a complete probe. We are still investigating the motive. I urge people not to make any conclusion.”

No arrests have been made so far and the murder weapon has not been recovered, he said as he appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Palestinian representative to Malaysia Anwar al-Asha said Fadi’s body will be taken back to the Palestinian territories for burial after it is handed back to the family.

“We are now talking to the handling company to make the arrangements,” he told AFP.

Mohammad Shedad, 17, a student and a relative of the victim, also blamed Mossad for the killing.

“It is definitely the work of Mossad. Fadi is a very clever person, anyone who is clever is a threat to Israel,” he told AFP outside the victim’s Malaysian apartment.

“Fadi is a Hamas member and knows how to make rockets. So (Israel) think he is dangerous.”

Batsh leaves a wife and three young children. He had lived in Malaysia for the past 10 years.

Ahmad Abu Bakar, 33, a foreign student studying in Malaysia, said he had known the victim for two years.

“He is friendly and he preaches good things. He never preached any hatred. I am shocked by the killing,” he said.

It was the second high-profile killing of a foreigner in Malaysia in just over a year.

In February 2017 assassins smeared the banned VX nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, killing him within minutes.